Barry Hall is active in many types of music including medieval, Celtic, jazz, new music and electronic. His performances throughout North America and Europe have ranged from an exhibition of historical English folk music at the Smithsonian Institution to a contemporary electric violin concerto with interactive electronics performed at the World Music Days in Mexico City.
Barry plays a variety of instruments including violin, medieval vielle, electric violin, bass, didjeridu and percussion in a number of musical groups, including Trouz Bras, The Janus Ensemble, Qwire, Free Energy, Coro Hispano de San Francisco and The Hall Consort. He studied composition with Eliot Newsome at Westminster College, where he earned a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science (Magna Cum Laude) in 1985. In conjunction with Dr. Daniel Oppenheim at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and the IBM music research center, Barry has worked extensively in the development of interactive musical software that interacts with a solo performer in an improvisational manner. He performed the world premiere of Dr. Oppenheim's Concerto in D for MIDI violin and Dmix interactive software (sound samples). Their work in this area was featured on BBC Television's Open University.
Collecting and building musical instruments is one of Barry's passions. He specializes in building unusual ceramic musical instruments and performing on them with his group Burnt Earth. Barry authored the book "From Mud to Music" and produced the instructional DVD "UDU: Clay Pot Drums and How to Play Them." He has published several articles on instrument building in the journal Experimental Musical Instruments and his original musical instruments are featured in publications such as Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones, a book and CD compilation of experimental musical instrument builders (published by Ellipsis Arts), Making Musical Instruments by Hand, by Jay Havighurst (Rockport Publishers), and The Extruder Book by Daryl Baird (published by the American Ceramic Society). He will also be featured in an upcoming textbook on the science of ceramics. Barry's instruments have been exhibited at the American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Brookfield Craft Center, where Barry has also curated an exhibit. Burnt Earth's music has been featured on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and is included in numerous compilation CDs.
Terra Cotta, The Burnt Earth Ensemble
10,000 Thunderstorms, Alan Tower and Free Energy
Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones by Bart Hopkin, Ellipsis Arts
A Feast of Songs, Barry and Beth Hall
Trouz Bras and Friends, Trouz Bras
The Eternal Presence, Rafael Bejarano, Barry Hall, Jusse Nayeli & Alan Tower
Didgeridoo USA, various artists
Didjeridu Planet, various artists
Didjeridu Planet 3, various artists
Later Years, Experimental Musical Instruments
Music From the Pages of Experimental Musical Instruments, Volumes 9 and 14., Various artists, published by EMI
Janus, "Free Fall", SPM Records
Brotherhood of the Drone, various artists
Vamos al Portal, Coro Hispano de San Francisco
Burnt Earth Ensemble
Concerto in D, by Daniel V. Oppenheim, for MIDI violin and Dmix interactive software
From Mud to Music, by Barry Hall, American Ceramic Society, 2005
Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones by Bart Hopkin, Ellipsis Arts Publishers
Making Musical Instruments by Hand, by Jay Havighurst. Rockport Publishers
The Extruder Book by Daryl Baird, published by the American Ceramic Society
"Globular Horns", Experimental Musical Instruments, Volume XIV #4, June 1999 (and online here)
"Two Hardware Store Instruments", Experimental Musical Instruments, Volume IX #3, March 1994 (excerpt here)
"Making a Clay Didjeridu", Didgeridoings (published online)
Pottery Making Illustrated Magazine, Fall 1999
Pottery Making Illustrated Magazine, May/June 2006
UDU: Clay Pot Drums and How to Play Them. by Barry Hall, Matthew Schertz and the Burnt Earth Ensemble, 2002
I am Clay by Kathleen Bailer with soundtrack by the Burnt Earth Ensemble
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Barry with some of his ceramic didjeridu creations